Drug ad spending up 330 percent since 1996

Since the rule change in 1996 that allowed Big Pharma to begin advertising directly to consumers, drug advertising budgets have exploded — while policing of such ads for accuracy has steadily declined, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The thing I find most troubling about the report is that even though we have far more drug commercials now than in 1996, fewer drug companies have been reprimanded for their ads. In 1996, 142 warning letters were sent out by the FDA. Last year, there were only 21. Either the drug companies are making flawless ads, or someone isn’t doing their job. Which do you think it is?

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